Joe Biden opened Super Tuesday with a series of victories, building on momentum that has swiftly revived his Democratic presidential campaign in recent days.
Sen. Bernie Sanders grabbed wins in Utah, Colorado and home-state Vermont, while Biden took Minnesota, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma and the battleground states of North Carolina and Virginia.
The two Democrats, lifelong politicians with starkly different visions for America’s future, were battling for delegates as 14 states and one U.S. territory held a series of high-stakes elections that marked the most significant day of voting in the party’s 2020 nomination fight. California, the crown jewel of Super Tuesday, was not expected to report final results until early Wednesday, though Sanders appeared to have an advantage there.
The clash between Biden and Sanders, each leading coalitions of disparate demographics and political beliefs, peaked on a day that could determine whether the Democrats' 2020 nomination fight will stretch all the way to the party's July convention or be decided much sooner.
“One of us in this race led the opposition to the war in Iraq," Sanders said in a speech drawing a contrast with Biden. “You are looking at him. Another candidate voted for the war in Iraq.”
It was increasingly looking like a two-man race.
"For those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign," Biden told supporters late Tuesday. "Just a few days ago, the press and the punditry declared this campaign dead."
Mike Bloomberg’s sole victory was in the territory of American Samoa. The billionaire former New York mayor will reassess his campaign on Wednesday, according to a person close to his operation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.
Elizabeth Warren had yet to post any early wins, and even in her home state of Massachusetts, she was locked in a three-way race with Biden and Sanders.
Sanders, a Vermont senator, opened the night as the undisputed Democratic front-runner. He claimed decisive victories in his home state and in Colorado. Yet Biden scored wins in Warren’s native Oklahoma, and a swath of Southern states including Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas signaled he was cementing his status as the standard-bearer for the Democrats’ establishment wing. In a sign of his strength across the country, Biden also won Minnesota, a state Sanders had hoped to put in his column.
Biden racked up the victories despite being dramatically outspent by moderate rival Bloomberg, who poured more than $19 million into television advertising in Virginia. Biden, meanwhile, spent less than $200,000.
A key to Biden’s success: black voters. Biden, who served two terms as President Barack Obama’s vice president, won 60% of the black vote in Alabama, where African Americans made up more than half the Democratic electorate on Tuesday. Bloomberg earned 25%, and Sanders won about 10% of African American votes, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate.
The Democratic race has shifted dramatically over the past three days as Biden capitalized on his commanding South Carolina victory to persuade anxious establishment allies to rally behind his campaign. Former rivals Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg abruptly ended their campaigns and endorsed Biden.
Biden's win in South Carolina, his first in the 2020 election season, rescued his campaign from the brink after three consecutive weak finishes last month.
Sanders, meanwhile, was predicting victory in California, the day’s largest delegate prize. The state, like delegate-rich Texas, plays to his strengths, given its significant factions of liberal whites, large urban areas with younger voters and strong Latino populations.
Story courtesy of our news partner at NBC Miami.